There is a common phrase used to describe making an irreversible decision, going ahead with a bold choice.
“Well,” people might say, “you are just going to have to pull the trigger on that one.”
For many, pulling the trigger is a highly satisfying experience. It is a moment of judgment, creating a clear separation between the moment before and the moment after you fire.
I enjoy watching Karen Walker on “Will & Grace” let fly with sharp quips and witticisms, cutting other people down to size. Maybe it’s her Oklahoma upbringing or her ballet training, but Ms. Mullally really knows how to pull the trigger on a sharp wisecrack.
“Shoot first and ask questions later,” has been the credo for many who believe it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Just shoot it out and clean up the mess later.
Observers are right about me, though. I just don’t tend to pull the trigger.
My experience of the world lets me see connections, ramifications, complications. I learned early the costs of pulling the trigger every time I saw an easy target, something that would be fun to take a pot shot at.
As I did my work, opening my vision, getting beyond my desires and impulses, moving more towards the good, I embraced empathy and compassion. I understood how vulnerable people are, how much they need safe space to explore their own space, and I got how taking shots at them did not help them grow and heal.
I knew how to cut people with my tongue, knew how to make quick and clean decisions, knew how to pull the trigger. I knew how to act out of impulse and how to play to the crowd, going for the quick hit.
As I became a primary caregiver, though, I learned to be more tender, more conscious, more considerate, more balanced, more kind. I learned how to bear with people and situations rather than just pulling the trigger.
Being centred and gracious is a wonderful thing. To live life, though, to be vital rather than just virtuous, sometimes you have to get off balance, jump and just pull the trigger. Balance, when it becomes cyclic, can deprive you of the inertia needed to get the most out of a messy, human life.
My not being able to easily “pull the trigger” and act on impulse is, of course, a consequence of learning to modulate, to be a guru, to try and be appropriate in relationships. It is the habit of someone forced into “concierge mode,” always being their for aging and challenged parents. It is the training of someone who learned not to trust their impulses and desires.
I know how to turn the other cheek. I know how to let fear and acting out end with me.
I am not so good, however, at engaging the possibilities of whatever days of human life I have left, not so good at dreams and hopes and aspirations, not so good at exuberance and passion.
Learning how not to be quick on the trigger, not to be trigger happy and overly sensitive has been valuable, important, laudable and appropriate.
Never being able to pull the trigger, even on the possibility of joy, well, that can be put down to analysis paralysis, and it doesn’t really serve me.
And as an old gunslinger, I know that to be true.